Top 20 Questions You Can Expect in a Job Interview (UK) & How to answer.


Madeleine Horton

“Every battle is won before it’s ever fought.” – Sun Tzu.

In the thrilling journey of securing a new job, the job interview stands as the pivotal chapter where your skills, experiences, and personality are put to the test.

It’s a battlefield of questions, each one designed to unveil the layers of your professional persona. As you step onto this terrain, armed with your resume and a pocket full of nerves, the questions that echo in your mind become the compass guiding your success.

In this blog post, we embark on a quest to decode the top 20 questions that are likely to be hurled your way during a job interview in the UK.

Fear not, for we not only uncover the enigma behind each question but also equip you with the knowledge of how to answer the questions properly that will leave a lasting impression on your potential employer.

Tighten your seatbelt, as we dive into the intricate dance of job interview questions and how to answer them, where success is not just about what you say, but how you say it.

20 common interview questions along with their expected answers and an explanation to the answer.

*Pro tip, Write down the question on a piece of paper, then use the Answer, Explanation, and Candidate response as a framework to influence your own answers. Read the Questions & answers back to yourself daily until you remember them with ease to help you remember for the big day. Don’t forget to do your Google-fu on the business either as you answer or before you begin.

*For context, We used a marketing candidate wanting to move up the career ladder as an example. You can be in any industry / sector / field and fundamentally the answers will be the same.

  1. Tell me about yourself.
    • Answer: Share a concise narrative of your professional journey, emphasizing relevant experiences and skills.
    • Explanation: For instance, start with your educational background, touch on your career trajectory, and highlight specific achievements or skills that make you suitable for the role. Keep it engaging yet professional.
    • Candidate Response: “I graduated with a degree in Marketing, and my career has been shaped by a passion for creating impactful campaigns. In my last role, I led a team that increased social media engagement by 30%, showcasing my strategic thinking and leadership skills.”
  2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
    • Answer: Highlight strengths aligned with the job and mention a weakness you’re actively working to improve.
    • Explanation: An example could be emphasizing your strong analytical skills (strength) while acknowledging a tendency to be overly detail-oriented (weakness) and explaining steps taken to balance this.
    • Candidate Response: “My strength lies in data analysis; I love turning numbers into actionable insights. On the flip side, I tend to be overly critical of my work, but I’ve been working on embracing constructive feedback to improve continuously.”
  3. Where do you see yourself in five years?
    • Answer: Express ambition aligned with company goals, detailing a clear career path within the organization.
    • Explanation: Provide a vision of growth within the company, such as taking on leadership roles or contributing significantly to key projects.
    • Candidate Response: “In five years, I envision myself leading a dynamic marketing team. I’m excited about the opportunity to contribute to the company’s growth and learn from experienced professionals along the way.”
  4. Why do you want to work for our company?
    • Answer: Connect company culture and values to your own, showcasing research and alignment.
    • Explanation: Mention specific company values that resonate with you and how your skills can contribute to the company’s mission.
    • Candidate Response: “Your commitment to innovation aligns with my values, and I’m impressed by your recent product launches. I’m eager to be part of a team that values creativity and pushes the boundaries of what’s possible.”
  5. Can you describe a challenging situation at work and how you handled it?
    • Answer: Share a specific example, emphasizing problem-solving skills and a positive outcome.
    • Explanation: Narrate a challenge you faced, the actions you took to address it, and the successful resolution, showcasing your abilities.
    • Candidate Response: “In my previous role, we faced a tight deadline for a client project. I organized a brainstorming session, delegated tasks effectively, and with collaborative effort, we not only met the deadline but also exceeded the client’s expectations.”
  6. How do you handle stress and pressure?
    • Answer: Discuss coping mechanisms such as time management and maintaining a calm demeanor.
    • Explanation: Give an example of a high-pressure situation where your organizational skills and composure led to a successful outcome.
    • Candidate Response: “I maintain a calm demeanor by breaking tasks into manageable steps. During a recent product launch, I created a detailed project plan, prioritized tasks, and ensured everyone on the team felt supported, resulting in a successful launch.”
  7. What is your greatest professional achievement?
    • Answer: Narrate a specific accomplishment, highlighting skills and the impact of your work.
    • Explanation: Describe a project or accomplishment, quantifying results if possible, and emphasizing your role in achieving success.
    • Candidate Response: “I spearheaded a customer retention initiative that resulted in a 25% increase in repeat business. This accomplishment not only showcased my strategic thinking but also demonstrated my ability to deliver tangible results.”
  8. Tell me about a time you failed and how you learned from it.
    • Answer: Discuss a setback, focus on lessons learned, and demonstrate resilience.
    • Explanation: Share a genuine failure, outline the steps taken to learn from it, and showcase subsequent improvements or achievements.
    • Candidate Response: “I underestimated the time required for a project, and we missed a deadline. I took responsibility, identified areas for improvement in our process, and implemented changes that resulted in a more efficient workflow.”
  9. How do you handle working in a team?
    • Answer: Showcase collaboration skills and your ability to contribute to a team’s success.
    • Explanation: Provide an example where you played a pivotal role in a team project, emphasizing effective communication and cooperation.
    • Candidate Response: “I thrive in collaborative environments. For instance, in my previous role, I facilitated weekly team meetings, ensuring open communication and providing a platform for team members to share ideas and concerns.”
  10. What is your preferred work style?
    • Answer: Tailor your response to match the company’s culture, emphasizing adaptability.
    • Explanation: For instance, mention how you can work both independently and collaboratively, adapting to the needs of the team and the task at hand.
    • Candidate Response: “I adapt my work style to the task at hand. For collaborative projects, I enjoy working closely with team members, while for independent tasks, I appreciate having the autonomy to take ownership and deliver results.”
  11. Describe your decision-making process.
    • Answer: Outline a systematic approach, considering information gathering and analysis.
    • Explanation: Offer an example of a complex decision you made, detailing the steps you took to gather information, analyze options, and arrive at a conclusion.
    • Candidate Response: “I gather relevant data, consider various perspectives, and consult team members when needed. An example is when I had to choose between two vendors; I conducted a thorough analysis and consulted the procurement team before making a decision.”
  12. How do you stay updated on industry trends?
    • Answer: Mention relevant sources and continuous learning initiatives.
    • Explanation: Provide examples of industry-related blogs, conferences, or workshops you regularly engage with, showcasing your commitment to staying informed.
    • Candidate Response: “I regularly attend industry conferences, subscribe to reputable blogs, and participate in online forums. For instance, I recently attended a marketing summit where I learned about emerging trends and best practices.”
  13. What motivates you?
    • Answer: Discuss intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, aligning them with the job and company values.
    • Explanation: Share personal motivations like a passion for challenges or the desire to contribute to a meaningful mission, connecting them to the job role.
    • Candidate Response: “I’m motivated by the opportunity to make a meaningful impact. For instance, being part of a team that launched a community outreach program, which not only enhanced the company’s brand but also positively contributed to the community.”
  14. How do you handle constructive criticism?
    • Answer: Demonstrate openness to feedback, willingness to learn, and the ability to implement suggestions.
    • Explanation: Share an example where you received constructive criticism, how you processed it, and the positive changes it brought to your work.
    • Candidate Response: “I see constructive criticism as an opportunity for growth. A recent example is when my supervisor suggested improvements to a project proposal. I welcomed the feedback, revised the proposal, and the final result was stronger because of it.”
  15. Describe a situation where you had to meet a tight deadline.
    • Answer: Share a specific example showcasing time management and successful project completion.
    • Explanation: Narrate an instance where a deadline was tight, detail the steps you took to manage your time effectively, and highlight the positive outcome.
    • Candidate Response: “In my previous role, we had to submit a last-minute proposal. I mobilized the team, created a detailed timeline, and with everyone’s dedication, we not only met the deadline but also won the contract.”
  16. How do you handle conflicts in the workplace?
    • Answer: Highlight your ability to communicate effectively and find amicable resolutions.
    • Explanation: Share an example of a workplace conflict you successfully navigated, focusing on your communication skills and ability to bring about a positive resolution.
    • Candidate Response: “Open communication is key. When conflicts arise, I initiate a conversation to understand perspectives and work towards a resolution. For instance, mediating a disagreement between team members resulted in improved collaboration.”
  17. What do you know about our competitors?
    • Answer: Display thorough research, demonstrating understanding of the industry landscape.
    • Explanation: Provide an overview of key competitors, highlighting how their strengths and weaknesses compare to the company you’re interviewing with.
    • Candidate Response: “I’ve researched your competitors extensively. For example, analyzing their marketing strategies revealed opportunities for differentiation, which could be leveraged to enhance your company’s market position.”
  18. How do you adapt to change?
    • Answer: Emphasize flexibility, resilience, and past experiences navigating change.
    • Explanation: Share an example where you adapted to a significant change, detailing the challenges faced and how you successfully navigated through them.
    • Candidate Response: “I view change as an opportunity to learn and grow. In my previous role, the company underwent a major restructuring. I embraced the change, took on new responsibilities, and successfully navigated the transition.”
  19. Why should we hire you?
    • Answer: Summarize unique skills, experiences, and how they align with the company’s needs.
    • Explanation: Provide specific examples of how your skills and experiences directly match the job requirements, showcasing your potential contribution to the company.
    • Candidate Response: “My unique blend of analytical skills, creativity, and proven track record align perfectly with the needs of this role. For instance, my experience in data analysis has consistently contributed to achieving and surpassing targets.”
  20. Do you have any questions for us?
    • Answer: Prepare thoughtful questions showcasing genuine interest.
    • Explanation: Ask about the company culture, team dynamics, or the role itself to demonstrate your enthusiasm and engagement with the potential employer.
    • Candidate Response: “Certainly! I’m interested in understanding more about the team dynamics and how collaboration is fostered here. Additionally, can you share more about the company’s long-term goals and how this role contributes to them?”

Remember, each question is an opportunity to showcase not just your skills but your unique narrative – a narrative that resonates with the company’s mission. So, as you prepare to step into the spotlight, armed with insights and anecdotes, embrace the journey of self-discovery and professional revelation.